News Articles

Liberia seminary reopens after 7 years of civil war

MONROVIA, Liberia (BP)–After a seven-year shutdown during a brutal civil war, the campus of the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary reopened in March, launching a new era of training leaders to evangelize and start churches in the West African country.
“Today we are rededicating the land and buildings, which are the tangible, material expression of the will and providence of God for his people in Liberia,” said International Mission Board missionary Bradley Brown during a rededication service March 2 in Monrovia, the nation’s capital. Brown was the seminary’s first president and currently teaches several classes at LBTS.
Although the campus had been closed since the civil war began in 1990, the seminary offered classes at another location in downtown Monrovia between 1993 and 1996. During the seven years the campus was closed, Ghanaian peacekeeping soldiers lived on the campus and protected it from looters.
The civil war that ravaged Liberia began in 1990 when current Liberian President Charles Taylor led a rebel insurgence against the military government, which had controlled the nation since 1980. In 1997, Taylor became the first democratically elected president of the country in 12 years.
Liberia and China were the first two mission fields opened by Southern Baptists, both in 1846, a year after the convention organized its foreign mission board. Missionary work in the country was interrupted in 1875 and reopened in 1960. Brown and his wife, Carolyn, were appointed missionaries to Liberia by the International Mission Board in 1963.
Liberian Baptists began formal training programs in 1969, when Brown started the Baptist Training Center. The center evolved into the seminary, which opened in 1976. In 1983 the seminary became the first to be officially accredited by the Accrediting Council for Theological Education in Africa.
“This is very exciting and very fulfilling,” Brown said in an interview with Baptist Press. “I was the first president of the seminary and it is very special to see it reopen.”
Brown left the seminary in 1983 to lead the organization of Southern Baptist missionaries in Liberia. The current seminary president is Lincoln Brownell Jr., a Liberian and graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
Currently 95 students take classes at the seminary.

    About the Author

  • Tobin Perry